(The Center Square) First Lady Casey DeSantis on Wednesday announced that Volunteer Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund to enable people to donate directly to those affected by Hurricane Ian.
The Florida Disaster Fund is the state’s official private fund created to provide financial assistance to communities responding to and recovering from emergencies or disasters. The fund works in partnership with public, private and other non-governmental organizations.
Those interested in donating can do so online at www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or by texting DISASTER to 20222.
“The Governor and I are thankful for the graciousness of those looking to assist Florida’s communities in their time of need,” Casey DeSantis said.
“We greatly appreciate the kindness and generosity of organizations and individuals from across the country looking to support Floridians, thank you.”
“When a disaster strikes our great state, Volunteer Florida is committed to help provide relief where it is most needed. We channel every available dollar to work towards rebuilding and recovery efforts in our affected communities,” Volunteer Florida CEO Josie Tamayo said. “The Florida Disaster Fund is an excellent way for the private sector and individuals to financially support Floridians affected by Hurricane Ian.”
Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund through the Volunteer Florida Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, are tax deductible.
Donations made by check can be made payable to the Volunteer Florida Foundation and should include “Florida Disaster Fund” in the memo line. They can be mailed to Volunteer Florida Foundation (Attention: Florida Disaster Fund), 1545 Raymond Diehl Road Suite 250, Tallahassee, FL 32308.
More than 2 million people have already evacuated from the expected areas of impact.
Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph, only 2 mph short of a Category 5, is close to making landfall in Florida. Storm surges are expected to damage the Gulf Coast from Bonita Beach to the Tampa Bay region.
Catastrophic storm surges could push as much as 16 feet to 18 feet of water over a nearly 100-mile stretch of coastline, from Bonita Beach north through Fort Myers and Charlotte Harbor to Englewood, according to the National Hurricane Center. Rainfall near the area of landfall could top 18 inches.
Mandatory Evacuation Orders are in effect in the counties of Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam and Sarasota.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for west central Florida including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Polk, Lake, Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Okeechobee, Hardee, Highlands, Desoto, Charlotte, Lee, Coastal Collier counties.
A Hurricane Watch has been issued for Glades, Hendry, Inland Collier counties.
Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Inland Collier, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Brevard, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, Levy, Dixie, Coastal Taylor, Coastal Jefferson, Coastal Wakulla, Coastal Franklin, Marion, Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, Duval, Coastal Nassau, Clay, Putnam counties.
Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for Inland Nassau, Baker, Union, Bradford, Alachua, Gilchrist counties.
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from Suwannee River southward to Flamingo, including Tampa Bay, Dry Tortugas, as well as from the Flagler/Volusia Line to the mouth of the St. Mary’s River. A Surge Warning is also in effect along the St. Johns River.
Reporting from The Center Square.